Nearly three-quarters of Prague residents are not happy with the city’s new mayor, suggests an opinion poll by the internet-based agency SANEP. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they were “not satisfied” with the Civic Democrats’ Bohuslav Svoboda, who was appointed in the face of noisy protests on December 1. Seventy-nine percent of people in the capital “do not trust” the coalition of the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats that rules City Hall, the survey indicates. The two parties’ alliance led to the sidelining of the winner of local elections in October, TOP 09. Critics say the coalition maintains keeps politicians linked to corrupt practices in power.
More details have emerged about a Czech married couple who were shot dead while attempting to rob a bank in the German city of Karlsruhe on Friday. The pair lived in the village of Dubenec in south Bohemia and had told their 20-year-old son they were going to Prague to visit friends. The son was quoted by a German newspaper as saying he believed his step-father was a bookmaker. The couple, who were in their 40s, had been dubbed the “gentlemen robbers” in Germany for the polite way they treated their victims. They are believed to have stolen around EUR 2 million over a period of 15 years. The man was gunned down by the police in a shootout, while the woman turned her weapon on herself.
More heavy snow on Saturday night has caused transport problems in the Czech Republic. Highland parts of west Bohemia saw up to half a metre of fresh snow, leading to the closing of some roads in the region on Sunday. Forecasters have warned that ice will form in many parts of the country during the night and called on drivers not to make unnecessary journeys.
Ski jumping World Cup events in the north Bohemian mountain resort of Harrachov were cancelled due to snow and high winds. A morning event rescheduled from Saturday and an afternoon event had to be called off after a series of delays. A representative of the International Ski Federation, Walter Hofer, said the organisers had been unable to guarantee the safety of competitors.
A tribute to the Czech poet Ivan Martin Jirous was held at New York’s Czech Center on Saturday night. US musicians accompanied the writer, nicknamed Magor (Madman), performing a set that included songs by the Plastic People of the Universe, the underground band of which he was artistic director. Saturday’s event was the last stop on a week-long readings tour of the US by Mr Jirous. The poet, who is a friend of former president Václav Havel, was imprisoned several times by the Communists for his opposition to the regime.
The Italian composer Ennio Morricone is in Prague this weekend recording the soundtrack to a new film with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Mr Morricone, who is 82, is one of the world’s best known movie soundtrack composers and is particularly associated with the spaghetti westerns of his compatriot Sergio Leone. This is his second recording visit to the Czech capital after a similar visit in 2009.
Cold weather may have claimed its 13th victim in Prague this winter, the Czech News Agency reported. The body of a man was found in Prague 10 on Sunday morning, and a spokesperson for the city’s rescue services said hypothermia was one possible cause of death. If that is confirmed, the cold will have killed 11 people in the capital since the start of this month alone.
Monday marks the 30th anniversary of the ending of tram services running the length of Prague’s main thoroughfare, Wenceslas Square. Trams had run between Mustek at the bottom of the square and the National Museum at the top for almost a century. The plan that won a competition for the redesign of the entire street in 2005 envisages the return of trams. However, the project has been delayed and no target date for its completion has been set.
The former Czech football international Marek Jankulovski says it is extremely likely that he will return to his hometown club Baník Ostrava when his contract at Italian giants AC Milan runs out at the end of the season. In an interview with the newspaper Sport, Jankulovski, who is 33, said he wants to return to Ostrava with his family, despite offers from clubs in Europe and the USA. The left-back and midfielder won the Champions League with Milan in 2007, but has not figured in their team this season. He played 78 times for the Czech Republic, scoring 11 goals.
A married couple shot dead while carrying out a bank robbery in the German city of Karlsruhe were from the Czech Republic. The husband, who was 44, was shot dead by the police, while the wife, 42, is believed to have turned her gun on herself. The DPA news agency reported that German police believe the two were responsible for a series of bank robberies over a period of 15 years, netting around EUR 2 million. They had been nicknamed the "gentlemen robbers" for the polite way they treated their victims. German websites reported that it was a miracle no passers-by were hurt in Friday’s shootout, which occurred in a pedestrian zone.